Bob Barker Misdiagnosed With Celebrity Exhaustion Syndrome

WASHINGTON -- Television personality Bob Barker, the 75-year-old host of the long-running game show The Price is Right, was admitted to George Washington University Hospital last Thursday suffering from what doctors first thought was Celebrity Exhaustion Syndrome (CES).

See also...
... by Greg Lee
... in the Whoa! section
... from September 21, 1999

Upon further testing, however, it was discovered that Barker not only was that extra-special kind of tired, but also needed surgery to clear a blocked artery that was impeding the flow of blood to his brain. The condition appears to have spurred a turnaround from his staunch position on animal rights.

"I never thought I'd have the feeling that humans are superior to our friends in the wild," Barker explained slowly from his hospital bed. "But as I lay on the stretcher in the ambulance, I had to ask myself: Do I love the monkey, or do I love me? My microphone is wonderfully long and skinny. It was then I decided to accept the best that medicine had to offer."

Neurologist Craig Fleischer, who attended to Barker after his admittance, tells a less genteel version of the story.

"When he first got here, he grabbed me by the throat and was like, 'You listen good, medicine boy, don't let me die! I don't want any of that animal-friendly medicine crap, I want the shit that works.' I thought it was a little excessive for a case of fatigue," Fleischer said, adding, "And I don't care if he was on 'Joker's Wild' -- I don't appreciate that kind of language."

When Barker learned he would need surgery, Fleischer says he demanded that the surgeons perform the procedure on "at least 12 cats for practice" before he would go under the knife.

Prior to this medical condition, Barker had earned a reputation as an animal-rights extremist even among other activists. That era has ended.

"The more I think about it, sawing through beagles' bones in order to test fracture-healing chemicals is the only sensible thing to do," Barker said. "As long as they've been spayed or neutered."

Greg Lee is a freelancer in Seattle who prefers Wink Martindale's politics.